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Blazers backcourt shines in comfy win vs Nuggets

FILE–CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers. Abbie Parr/Getty Images/AFP

CJ McCollum scored 32 points and Damian Lillard added 25 as the Portland Trail Blazers notched an easy 119-100 victory over the visiting Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night.

Norman Powell recorded 15 points and three steals and Anfernee Simons added 14 points as Portland improved to 9-1 at home. Nassir Little contributed 13 points as the Trail Blazers completed a 4-0 homestand.

Jeff Green scored 24 points for the Nuggets, who lost their fifth straight contest. Monte Morris added 16 points for Denver.

The Nuggets played without reigning MVP Nikola Jokic (wrist) for the third straight game. Denver also continues to play without Michael Porter Jr. (back), while Jamal Murray remains sidelined from April’s ACL injury.

Will Barton registered 11 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Aaron Gordon tallied 11 points for the Nuggets, who shot 48.7 percent from the field and made 15 of 33 from 3-point range.

McCollum and Lillard each made five 3-pointers for Portland, which shot 51.1 percent from the field and was 15 of 39 from behind the arc. The Trail Blazers committed just nine turnovers while forcing Denver into 19.

Lillard has scored at least 20 points in eight straight games to emerge from an early-season slump.

McCollum scored 19 points, including a floater as time expired, and Lillard added 18 as Portland held a 66-52 lead at the break.

Lillard made four 3-pointers in the final 4:18 of the half, three coming during a 16-0 surge that gave the Trail Blazers a 15-point lead.

Green scored 15 first-half points for Denver.

Portland held a double-digit lead for most of the third quarter. McCollum again made a buzzer beater at the end of the stanza as the Trail Blazers took a 90-79 advantage into the fourth quarter.

Portland led 99-82 after a bucket by Simons with 8:55 remaining. The Nuggets crept within 12 on Barton’s 3-pointer with 6:32 left before the Trail Blazers answered with a 15-3 push to make it 119-95 with 50.3 seconds left.

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